|Outside the African Art Museum|
Ncebekazi Manzi, a founding member of Blackwash, says the ANC largely failed to transform the South African society for the benefit of the country’s black majority. “Our assessment is that black people have accepted that this is a white country,” she says.
Mgwili, like other Blackwash members, bears the responsibility of educating fellow students on campus by showing them the fallacies in the promises made by the ANC government in 1994, while preparing them for the revolution that will one day bring about true change. But this obligation does not extend to the white people of South Africa. “Blackwash is a blacks only movement. We are not interested in organising with whites. They should organise themselves."
Blackwash’s ultimate goal is to achieve what Manzi refers to as a dictatorship of the masses, in which the people make the decisions through processes of direct democracy and the wealth is transferred to the people. As for white people in this future South Africa, Lubabalo says they would be welcome, but would have to comply with the terms of the new state. “We seek to oppress no-one. So white people would fit in, but since it is going to be a dictatorship of the people, and black people are the majority, they are going to have to go with what the majority says.”
The sentiments expressed by Blackwash resonate with a growing number of black people, as evidenced by frequent service delivery protests throughout the country. Lucy Holborn from the South African Institute of Race Relations says, “They are certainly tapping into that group of disenfranchised young South Africans who are mostly black, unemployed and have been largely let down by government.”
In spite of whatever may be happening in the country as far as racial unity is concerned, Blackwash is beginning to occupy an increasingly relevant space in political and racial discourse in South Africa. What started as a conversation between like-minded and equally frustrated friends is gaining momentum.